YLP funds in Lira City to go to active groups only

LIRA CITY, February 22, 2024 – In a bid to ease the recovery of funds, Lira City Community Development Office plans to only disburse the money provided by the Youth Livelihood Programme [YLP] to the youth who run active businesses.

Launched in January 2014, YLP is implemented under the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development [MGLSD]. It is a Government of Uganda financed programme designed as one of the interventions to respond to the high unemployment rate and poverty among the youth [aged between 18-30 years] in the country.

Cabinet and Parliament approved a budget of Shs 265 billion for the first five years of implementation of the programme which covered financial years 2013-14 to 2017-18.

Relatedly, Lira Municipal Council [now Lira City] embraced the YLP in the financial year [FY] 2014/2015 and ran up to the FY 2022/2023 where a total of 891 youth beneficiaries received over Shs  878.34 million, but with a cumulative recovery of about Shs 218.2mln to date.

At the moment, 85 youth groups are benefiting from YLP in Lira City. Some of them include Bazzar East Boda-boda Youth Group, Ireda Central Park Piggery, Obuto-Welo B Youth Poultry, Ober Entebbe Youth Leather Works, Kakoge A Youth Vision Piggery, and Akwoyo Youth Catering Services Group.

Other YLP beneficiary groups are; Cuk Ebange Youth Event Management and Catering, Market Square Youth Boda-boda group, Bar-Onger Konypaco Youth Produce Buying and Selling and Lira Town College Youth Boda-Boda Group.

The groups are engaged in commercial activities such as poultry keeping, produce trade, piggery, catering services ad events management among others.

Tom Richard Okello, the Lira City Community Development Officer [CDO] said the rate of recovery for YLP has been so low much as there is some little improvement in the recent disbursement that was made in October 2023.

Okello said that giving loans to only active groups will enable other beneficiaries to also benefit from the YLP, which offers revolving funds.

“We are going to be very strict. If you ask for money,  we will have to look at your workplan and we give you money ,according to your running enterprise. This because active enterprises can easily pay back the money, which we want to give to many other groups such that they also have something to do,” he said.

He added: “If you do not have a business what shows that you are going to bring this money back to us because this money is a loan. Even if we receive your file and you don’t have a running business, we shall cancel it and give the money to someone with a running business because we shall be sure that they will pay back the loan.”

Okello further said that they will soon be arresting the defaulters so that they can recover the money since they have been given the authority to do so.

“There is improvement in recovery in the recent disbursement much as it is still low. Groups are paying, but it is difficult to collect money from the first groups that got it before Covid-19. However, we have been given a backup to move down to look for the defaulters and get them to pay. If they fail to pay back, we are mandated to take them to the court so that they can pay the money and others benefit,” Okello said.

Gracious Adea, the Chairperson of Boke Produce Buying and Selling Group said giving the YLP money to active youth who have active businesses, even though he said his colleagues without active businesses stand to suffer since they don’t have capital start businesses.

“The authorities are right to have restrictions but it will be hard for the groups that don’t  have starting capital to be active. I also know that if you don’t have a running business, it is hard to repay a loan, but if you have a business already running, it is very easy to pay back,” Adea said.

Some of the objectives of the YLP are to:  Provide youth with marketable vocational skills and tool kits for self-employment and job creation; provide financial support to enable the youth establish Income generating activities; provide the youth with entrepreneurship and life skills as an integral part of their livelihoods; and provide youth with relevant knowledge and information for attitudinal change [positive mind set change].

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